Directed by Dan Mazer
Starring Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Aubrey Plaza
Some movies look terrible from the moment you see the trailer. But, generally, there is the small possibility of a redeeming value from a film that may suffer from poor marketing. In the case of Dan Mazer's comedy Dirty Grandpa the overall product is nothing but a crass attempt at fratastic comedy that fails on just about every single level.
Zac Efron stars as Jason Kelly, a young attorney learning the ranks in his father's law firm. Dressed in suburban, college-town-friendly pastels and thin sweaters, with plenty of pleats in his trousers, Jason ends up on a road trip from Atlanta to Florida with his recently widowed grandfather (Robert De Niro). With his own wedding coming up in a few weeks, Jason is upset (as he should be) after finding out that the grandpa he was looking forward to getting to know is actually a disgusting, disturbing old man looking for a few kicks now that he's single.
The premise alone isn't anything to put on film lover's radars, but a cast that includes a young Hollywood A-lister and a Hollywood legend, with decent marketing efforts in the form of stylized posters, is enough to spark some interest. Recent college-minded comedies that did hit the mark, like Neighbors or The Hangover franchise, excelled by being outrageous with quality and originality behind it. Dirty Grandpa likes to think it is original by offering handfuls of outlandish scenarios, but missed every opportunity at quality and intelligence.
Efron, who isn't necessarily known for the greatest resume choices as of late, whines his way through a character so mismanaged, it's hard to root for him. De Niro is embarrassing as the creepy old grandfather wanting nothing more than to say disgusting and inappropriate things while trying to hook up with a sleazy college girl. Actors of his calibre and pedigree deserve better choices. I can't imagine he's hurting for money that much that he'd feel the need to suffer through this. Aubrey Plaza, as the aforementioned sleazy college girl, plays up her uninterested young person trope we've grown to love, but even her content is asinine and degrading to her talents.
If a filmmaker thinks throwing f-bombs and masturbation jokes into a script as much as possible equals comedy, then that filmmaker doesn't understand comedy.
I saw this with an audience of about ten and there wasn't a single snicker or giggle or belly laugh throughout the entire screening. Even the most basic of senses of humor found in a supposed audience member deserves better films. The more Dirty Grandpa sits with me the more it feels insulting to everyone involved and everyone who may intentionally or accidentally spend time watching.
Save your money and skip this one, or at least wait until it hits Redbox. Even then, though, you'll probably wish you had spent your dollar elsewhere.
Runtime: 1h 42min